Artist Assembles a Band... Of Insects! Listen to the Music!

Sophie Taylor

What if the bugs bumbling around our homes were actually musicians? How might it sound if, instead of buzzing we heard the rhythmic beats and melodies? Artist Dickon Stone has combined music and insects to create an amazing soundtrack to the autumnal evenings. Listen to the result...

Bugged-Out Beats

Artist and DJ Dickon Stone has taken his interest in our flying friends, combining his passion for music and wildlife to create the fascinating Bug Box Drum Machine. It's, essentially, a band made up of insects. Stone has created a bespoke smartphone app to use within this sculptural light instrument in order to produce his tracks.

Once drawn in, the insects set off triggers that play and record varying samples: the music is determined by the flight and fancy of the insects themselves. The Bug Box was first tested in the British countryside before recording was completed in Berlin. However, the more melodic elements of the tracks are based on firefly flashes that Stone observed in Detroit, USA.

Over the space of five years, from conception in 2009 to its release last month, the resulting sounds have culminated in two untitled tracks of rather differing moods. It is quite something to ponder on first listen, wondering whether the insects have affected the feeling of the music; its very character based upon nature and chance.

But it was no walk in the park, as it were. During his collaboration with the beasties, Stone’s throwaway comment that he was ‘very bitten’ is a harsh understatement. Covered from neck to toe in large, angry blisters from a smorgasbord of stingers and teeth, this is one artist who’s willing to suffer for his art.

You can find the rather beautifully designed Bug box Drum Machine vinyl and book package, or download Stone’s album for yourself at www.bugboxdrummachine.com

Autumnal Bugs

As the temperature drops and the sun sets earlier this autumn, we may find ourselves with some new insect-shaped house guests of an evening. No, not a Kafka-esque nightmare, but simply the season for lacewings, moths and other light-drawn bugs to make themselves known in and around our humble abodes. Besides the influx of house spiders in our bathrooms, dashing along our carpets searching for their autumnal love buddies, you may start to spy more winged heat seekers with each lamp you turn on. In particular, the crane fly—or daddy-long-legs—will be bumbling around your ceilings this October. Due to the more humid summer season we enjoyed, there was an increase in their larvae production, or leatherjackets as they are also referred to. But before you start reaching for your hoover, this daddy cool does have an important role, managing the amount of smaller flies populating your dusty crevices.

If you find yourself the subject of some invertebrate's dinner plans this October, relief can be found in some simple DIY treatments. You can crush together aspirin and water to create an anti-itch paste, or even just a dab of peppermint toothpaste to the affected area. Otherwise, head to your kitchen and rub on banana peel, or place a slice of lemon on the bite. Natural tannins in tea help to draw out toxins, so a used tea bag (preferably chilled) directly applied also works wonders. I have to say, nothing beats ice cubes in a hand towel for instant itch and swelling relief.

Dickon, on the other hand, braved it out with good old-fashioned itching.

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